Turkey, Istanbul: A grand welcome to Saudi king to his visit to Istanbul to attend OIC (Organisation of Islamic Council) meet seems to redraw new regional equation to combat terror and to consolidate trade and defense relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Salman’s host, signalled the special importance of his visitor by meeting him in person at Ankara Airport and driving back into town together with him. Normal protocol rules would have suggested that the king would be met by a minister and only meet the president in his palace later. President Erdogan was probably responding to a similar honour paid to him when he visited Saudi Arabia last December and was met at the airport by the king. Shortly afterwards photographs were issued of the two heads of state sitting together below a large portrait of Kemal Ataturk, the secularist founder of the Turkish Republic. On Tuesday, King Salman received Turkey’s top decoration.
A very clear message is that the two countries are now on their way to becoming close regional strategic partners, in fact we should perhaps now be speaking directly of them as allies. During President Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia in December, the two countries signed a strategic cooperation agreement, covering military, economic and investment and intended specifically to foster cooperation between 34 Muslim countries against terrorism.